What category of firearm are lever-action shotguns currently?
Lever-action shotguns currently require a Category A firearms licence, as they are a “shotgun other than pump action or self-loading”, pursuant to section 14(1)(c) of the Firearms Act 1996.
What firearm licence category will be required for lever-action shotguns after the Bill is proclaimed?
Depending on the magazine size of the lever-action shotgun, it will either require a Category B or Category D firearms licence.
- If the magazine size of the lever-action shotgun is no greater than five rounds, it will require a Category B licence.
- If the magazine size of the lever-action shotgun is greater than five rounds, it will require a Category D licence.
Categorising lever-action firearms is addressed by the National Firearms Agreement. Once the Bill is passed, the above categories will be aligned with the National Firearms Agreement.
As a current Category A licence holder for a lever-action shotgun, how will these amendments affect me?
The commencement of the reclassification will be delayed, to ensure that all relevant licence holders can be contacted by Tasmania Police Firearms Services.
Where necessary, licences will be transitioned to the appropriate category or other arrangements will be made.
What is the National Firearms Agreement?
The National Firearms Agreement constitutes a “national approach to the regulation of firearms. The Agreement affirms that firearms possession and use is a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety, and that public safety is improved by the safe and responsible possession, carriage, use, registration, storage and transfer of firearms.”
The Agreement sets out what categories are to be used in the licensing of firearms (starting at paragraph 24).
Why is this being addressed now?
Reclassification of lever-action shotguns has been under consideration since the National Firearms Agreement was amended to include them in 2017.
The importation of firearms is controlled under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Currently there is a ban on importing lever-action shotguns with a magazine size of more than five rounds.
How does this Bill relate to imitation firearms, and is a ‘gel blaster’ a firearm?
Clause 12 of the Bill amends section 115 of the Firearms Act 1996 (Aggravated Assault). Aggravated assault will include displaying an imitation firearm, such as a gel blaster, with the intention that another person believes it to be a real firearm. This is a targeted and specific amendment to aggravated assault.
In Tasmania, gel blasters are considered firearms under the Firearms Act 1996.
In Tasmania there is a permanent amnesty in relation to firearms. This means that if you are unlawfully in possession of a gel blaster and surrender it to the police, no action will be taken against you in respect of that unauthorised possession. More information on the amnesty and how to surrender a firearm is available from: Information Sheet 9 – Surrendering Firearms & Amnesty
More specific information about gel blasters as firearms is available at:
Gel Blasters, Tasmania Police Firearms Services.
Felix Ellis, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management.
Who is a “participant” in an outlaw motorcycle gang?
The Bill uses the same definition of participant as section 6A(1) of the Police Offences Act 1935.
A participant in an outlaw motorcycle gang means a person –
(a) who –
(i) has been accepted as a member of the organisation, whether informally or through a process set by the organisation; and
(ii) has not ceased to be a member of the organisation; or
(b) who is an honorary member of the organisation; or
(c) who is a prospective member of the organisation; or
(d) who is an office holder of the organisation; or
(e) who identifies himself or herself in any way as belonging to the organisation; or
(f) whose conduct in relation to the organisation would reasonably lead another person to consider the person to be a participant in the organisation.
A list of organisations is available at section 7A of the Police Offences Regulations 2014.
How does this Bill address digital blueprints for the manufacture of firearms?
The Bill inserts a new offence at section 119A of the Firearms Act 1996, possession of digital blueprints for manufacture of firearms. This offence is prescribed as an indictable offence under the Criminal Code (Tas).
The creation of this offence will ensure Police can act on intelligence or reported information regarding the manufacture of a firearm, firearm part of sound suppressor using a 3D printer, or an electronic milling machine.
It will also ensure that if the means of firearm production using a 3D printer or electronic milling device are discovered by Police, that the person responsible for manufacturing firearms or their parts can be prosecuted.
The offence has specific legal defences to the offending, such as if the conduct was of public benefit, or if the conduct had a scientific, medical, educational, military or law enforcement research purpose. Research can be approved in advance.
Does this Bill change the categorisation of pump action or self-loading shotguns?
No, other firearm categories are not being changed by the Bill.
Does this Bill change a licenced firearms dealer’s ability to receive unregistered firearms for destruction or register unregistered firearms that are otherwise in safe working order?
No, this process is not affected by the Bill.
For further information, please see the information sheet below.
Advice for firearms dealers, Tasmania Police Firearms Services.
Will firearm diagrams, exploded-parts views, detailed drawings, collection books and other historical images, either in digital or hard copy be subject to the Bill?
No, these types of materials will not be captured by the definition of digital blueprint.
The Bill is designed to target emerging technology which can manufacture homemade firearms using specific computer blueprints, digital designs or computer code when fed into a 3D-printer or electronic milling machine.
For example, diagrams or schematics that a licenced firearms dealer uses to repair a firearm will not be affected by these changes.
Who is being consulted on this Bill?
Any person, organisation, community group or club can make a submission on the Firearms Amendment (Community Safety) Bill 2023. There is no limitation on who may comment on the Bill.
Specific stakeholders and community groups have been directly invited to provide feedback on the Bill.
A notice about the public consultation was printed in the Mercury, Examiner and Advocate newspapers on 4 February 2023 following consultation opening.